Devon Book Club: South West Coast Path Challenge

Ian, an avid reader and Goodreads user, started Devon Book Club a few years ago. Since then, the group has nurtured discussions about all things Devonshire and Book-related. We spotted his South West Coast Path Challenge and asked if he could tell us more:

Devon Book Club has over 3000 members – readers, writers, booksellers, publishers, libraries, festivals and more, all united by a passion for books. We connect through Goodreads.com, on Facebook and on Twitter and occasionally meet (usually with cake and tea and, it has been known, with a picnic or cocktails). We celebrate Devon writers but feature other writers who are active in our network and talk about books from all over the world.

From time to time, I set a fun challenge and in 2018, struck by the number of people in gentle despair over their growing To Be Read (TBR) pile and also inspired by Devon’s landscape, I launched the TBR and South West Coast Path Challenge.

The aim: to tackle your TBR pile whilst walking (physically or virtually) the 630 miles of the SW Coast Path.

Picture from: https://www.southwestcoastpath.org.uk

The Route:

Starting from Minehead:

3 books gets you to Westward Ho!

5 books to Padstow

10 books will see you all the way to St. Ives (a pretty tough section of the journey, so take your time)!

13 books get you to the Lizard

18 books to Par (an easier stretch so reading speed will increase)

After 22 books you will have made it through Plymouth and South Hams to Torcross

Now heading towards the Jurassic Coast now, the going gets tough:

25 books will be a great achievement as you arrive in Seaton.

30 books will complete the path as you arrive tired but fulfilled at South Haven Point

Responses to the Challenge so far:

I supplied a map of the path and the SW Coast Path website address and, to get people started, posted a picture of a book, a few scenes and a lovely piece of driftwood that I found nearby (there’s a story in there somewhere) , on the beach at Bucks Mills.

I invited people to walk it in any order they chose (it is a bit of fun after all), and to post pictures as they go – together with a picture of a book. Also, to take as long as they wished – this is not a race. And people are approaching this in a number of ways – some are choosing any book to accompany them, others are finding books relating to specific sections of the Path. Sue, for instance, wrote “I am going to start my travels with The Witch of Exmoor by Margaret Drabble. The other two for this leg I found are The Secret of Crickley Hall – James Herbert (Lynmouth) and The Last Night – Cesca Major (Lynton and Lynmouth)”.

Meanwhile, Janet alerted us to Winston Graham’s A Grove of Eagles for Falmouth.

A few people have recommended The Salt Path by Raynor Winn, a true story about a couple who have lost everything and decide to walk and wild camp the south west coastal path.

Having set the challenge, I really got into it by entering the 22 mile Jurassic Coast Trek in aid of MacMillan along with 1500 others at the end of June – so lots of training walks, reading and companionship for several months leading up to that day.

So far, I’ve read 7 books from my TBR pile (though I’ve finished many more). At this rate, it is going to take me 3 years or more! Has it reduced my TBR pile? Of course not – too many great recommendations from our wonderful members that I want to read.

And its not too late to join in – just let me know by e-mailing me at barumian@gmail.com and I’ll get you started.

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